Could The Mall At Steamtown Reinvent Itself With An Open-Air Market Atmosphere?

SCRANTON, PA — The Mall at Steamtown hasn’t exactly been running at full power lately.

But a couple of brothers have gone to social media to pitch an idea to put more firepower in the ailing mall, and the public is starting to take notice.

Scranton natives Michael Boyd and his brother George think creating a marketplace similar to the long-standing Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia could be the key to the city’s revitalization.

The downward spiral of the once-vibrant downtown mall has been apparent in recent years. A walk through the two-story structure on Lackawanna Avenue last week showed 47 active store fronts and 23 shuttered ones.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/business/151922265/

NY Times: Millennials Driving Apartment Boom In Wilmington

Wilmington is becoming quite the hot spot for young professionals.

In Delaware’s largest city, about 30 miles south on I-95 from Philadelphia, the downtown is expanding with several hundred apartments on the way.

These new apartments, profiled in a New York Times article this week, are aimed at millennials who are “driving increased demand for city-center living, car-free commutes and transit oriented development in cities around the country,” the article states.

To build these residential units, developers are taking vacant or underused buildings and either demolishing or renovating them.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/philadelphia-real-estate/NY-Times-Millennials-driving-apartment-boom-in-Wilmington.html#LYzMk5JseugGvOJ3.99

For Colony Of Merchants, Gallery Makeover Is Painful

Every day, Miss Anna comes to the Gallery – and on Tuesday, she was particularly elegant, in a long purple sweater, fashionable hairstyle, her eyebrows etched in darkly, perfectly arched.

“Her brother died two years ago,” said George Thomas, who owns the Creative Silver jewelry kiosk on the ground floor. “She was crushed. If I don’t see Miss Anna for two days, I worry. I call her.”

Who will worry about Anna Mazella, an Aramark retiree in her 80s, when Thomas closes his business – not by choice – at the end of the month?

In November, the Gallery’s owners, the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust and the Macerich Co., began to tell dozens of merchants that they would have deadlines to leave – some by the end of December, others at the end of January or February.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150121_For_colony_of_merchants__Gallery_makeover_is_painful.html#SEk4SQJIJbQS6D4o.99

Lawrenceville Interior Designer Gets Some Fresh Recognition From HGTV

Her work transforming an awkward, cramped kitchen into an inviting space ideal for entertaining has earned a Pittsburgh newcomer national attention.

Interior designer Lauren Levant Bland, 32, of Lawrenceville won for “Most Dramatic Transformation” in HGTV’s Fresh Faces of Design competition identifying the Top 10 American designers under age 35.

“I was really thrilled” says Levant Bland, owner of Lauren Levant Interior. “I always like it when I know the design I’ve done pleases the client, and to think it’s also been intriguing for other people to see is a wonderful honor.”

In their search for the newest crop of up-and-coming talent, HGTV invited designers from all over the country to submit their work. A panel of industry leaders then selected finalists for awards in 10 categories, and the public voted to select the winners.

Read more: http://triblive.com/lifestyles/morelifestyles/7464029-74/kitchen-bland-levant#ixzz3O3Y1bJkr
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New Plans For South Bethlehem Apartments, Stores And Offices Submitted

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A developer has submitted new plans for three buildings that will include stores, offices and apartments across from the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. site in Bethlehem.

Developer BethWorks Renovations has submitted plans for one five-story and two four-story buildings along East Third Street across from Northampton Community College.The company’s previous plans for the site called for one five-story and two three-story buildings, but its total of 111 apartments remains the same.

The company’s new plans are scheduled to go before the Bethlehem Planning Commission 4 p.m. Thursday.

BethWorks’ five-story building would be located at 422-430 E. Third St., which is on the corner of Fillmore Street. It’s proposed to have first-floor retail space and 96 apartments.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/10/new_plans_for_south_bethlehem.html

Allentown Developer Announces New Project, Possible Rooftop Restaurant

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The developer already behind $500 million of development in downtown Allentown has something new up his sleeve.

J.B. Reilly announced plans Wednesday to renovate a blighted vacant building at Eighth and Linden streets, turning the ground level floor into 4,000-square-feet of retail space.

The upper floors of the three-story building will become either apartments or office space, and a rooftop restaurant could be established there as well, Reilly said.

“We think this is a really important project because it’s sort of the gateway into the residential neighborhood,” said Reilly, president of

City Center Lehigh Valley. “We think it’ll have a pretty big impact on the neighborhood outside the NIZ.”

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/10/allentown_developer_announces.html

Airmall At Pittsburgh International Celebrates New Stores, Renovation

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The place known for jet ways featured a runway Sept. 29.

The Airmall at Pittsburgh International Airport teamed with the Allegheny County Airport Authority for a special fashion event to mark the 15th anniversary of the airport authority and celebrate the completion of a $10 million renovation that created a new retail core in the center of the airport’s air-side terminal.

“Fly 2014: An Invitation to Fashion & Flair With Altitude” showcased the latest styles from the Airmall shops. The fashion show was the first event of this kind for the airport since it opened in 1992.

The show helped introduce new retail stores at the Airmall, including several international luxury brands. Italian-based Pinko recently opened its first U.S. store in the Airmall. Other stores include Furla, Lacoste, Armani Jeans, Hugo Boss, Tumi, Desigual, Collezioni — the Beauty Gallery and Bottega dei Sapori, an Italian specialty foods store.

Read more: http://triblive.com/lifestyles/fashion/6785773-74/airmall-airport-stores#ixzz3EprxD0v5
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Residents Facing Evictions At Jenkintown High Rise

Map of Abington Township, Montgomery County, P...

Map of Abington Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some 200 Jenkintown residents, many of them elderly, are losing their apartments due to a dispute between local officials and the property owner.

“We’re the pawns in this,” said Marshall Jones, 93. “[The owner] is saying, ‘If you won’t do it our way, we’ll just close it down.’ ”

Jones has lived in the Colonade high-rise apartments on Old York Road, in the Jenkintown section of Abington Township, for 16 years. He and other residents have had a string of complaints about leaks, electrical outages, broken elevators, cold water, broken heaters, and other issues, many of which ended up in the courts.

In 2012, the building was cited for more than 200 code violations, and the township’s solicitor was “looking into criminal charges,” according to an Inquirer report.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140904_Residents_facing_evictions_at_Jenkintown_high_rise.html#FfYzbjqVDIYStHix.99

Delays In Rupert Elementary School Construction Frustrate Pottstown School Board

POTTSTOWN — As recently as Aug. 14, Pottstown School Board members were assured by district administrators and construction consultants that renovation and expansion of Rupert Elementary School was on schedule for the opening of school on Sept. 2.

But just four days later, the administration announced that the school would not be ready on timeand students and staff would begin school in the former Edgewood Elementary School at 920 Morris St.

Three days after that announcement, frustrated school board members levied criticism at both the planning and execution of the project.

“To say I am disappointed in the efforts of the contractor is an understatement,” board member Ron Williams said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140822/delays-in-rupert-elementary-school-construction-frustrate-pottstown-school-board

(Updated) Potential Pottstown Airport Operator Works From Limerick

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — Two proposals for becoming the next fixed base operator of the Pottstown Municipal Airport came in last week and borough council will likely approve the one from the company that already operates out of a nearby airport in Limerick.

Both Fare Share Ltd. of Limerick and Weston Inc. of Barto submitted proposals to succeed TNT Air Inc. as the Pottstown airport’s operator, council learned Wednesday at its committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Fare Share, which runs a pilot school and a charter company at Heritage Field in Limerick, received the borough staff’s recommendation to take over duties at the Pottstown Municipal Airport.

“They put together a pretty strong proposal,” Assistant Borough Manager Erica Weekley told council. “We ranked them first.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140806/limerick-airport-operator-likely-to-add-duties-at-pottstown-municipal

King’s College Among Three Interested In Buying Former Springbrook Water Co. Building

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — King’s College has submitted a proposal to purchase the former four-story Springbrook Water Co. property in Wilkes-Barre from Luzerne County.

The county sought proposals from prospective buyers as part of an initiative to shed unused properties and generate revenue for the cash-strapped county government.

Three entities submitted purchase proposals by last week’s deadline, said county Purchasing Director Mark Zulkoski. County officials say copies of all proposals will be publicly released before county council votes on options.

John Loyack, King’s College vice president for business affairs, confirmed the institution submitted a proposal but said he will leave it up to the county to release of the offered dollar amount.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1538937/Kings-College-among-three-interested-in-buying-Luzerne-County-property

Florida Investor Buys 7 Office Buildings At Parkway Center, Promises Upgrades

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An investor from Florida who now owns seven of the 11 office buildings at Parkway Center in Green Tree says he wants to bring new life to the “tired buildings” there and work with other owners to upgrade the entire complex.

“We plan to begin upgrades and improvements in July,” said Robbie Oppenheim, Pittsburgh-born president of Market Street Real Estate Partners, who on Wednesday acquired the buildings with partner JDI Realty of Chicago from PWC Pitt LLC, headed by Lee Baierl.

Oppenheim declined to reveal the purchase price for the seven buildings — numbers 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10. The buildings were listed for $49 million.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6196864-74/buildings-building-center#ixzz33DaYcHoG
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Pottstown Area Seniors Center Gets New Director

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — The changes underway at the Pottstown Area Seniors’ Center now also include a change in leadership.

After 19 years with the center, Executive Director Brad Fuller is joining the legions of the retired and is currently training his replacement — Brian Parkes of Gilbertsville.

Parkes, 43, was most recently self-employed for nine years with Krisp Communications, a firm which worked exclusively with non-profit organizations and specializing in communications, grant-writing and fundraising.

Among his clients were six senior centers in Chester County and one in Montgomery County.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140302/pottstown-area-seniors-center-gets-new-director

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How A Pittsburgh School, Empty For 30 Years, Became Home To Electronics Firm

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hays School had been empty for 30 years when Bob Dagostino drove by one morning and saw the “For Sale” sign. He copied the number and called for a tour. At the time, his electronics business Downtown was outgrowing its third location.

“At our other place, [employees] sat an arm’s length apart,” said Chuck Roberts, vice president of Dagostino Electronic Services. “Bob brought me in look at the school and I said, ‘Why don’t we get a renovated space?’ and he said, ‘No, no, this is our headquarters.’ He had a vision.”

It often takes vision to remake a century-old school. Pittsburgh has scores of them, some in private hands, some long vacant, several converted into apartments and 19 still to be sold. Pittsburgh Public Schools has contracted with Fourth River Development to sell them.

The former Schenley High School in North Oakland sold last year for $5.2 million and is slated for luxury housing. McCleary School in Upper Lawrenceville sold last year for $410,000 to a residential developer. Morningside School has been approved for sale to the Urban Redevelopment Authority for $275,000, also for housing; negotiations are underway “as we speak,” said Patrick Morosetti, sales and leasing manager for Fourth River Development.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/02/24/How-Pittsburgh-school-empty-for-30-years-became-home-to-electronics-firm/stories/201402240060#ixzz2uGDkAqAk

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Montgomery County Officials Release Parkhouse Documents; RFP Shows Intent To Build On Site

Location of Upper Providence Township in Montg...

Location of Upper Providence Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Norristown, PA — Montgomery County officials have released Mid-Atlantic Health Care’s response to the Request for Proposal to purchase and take over the Parkhouse geriatric facility in Upper Providence Township.

The response was released after The Times Herald submitted a Right To Know request with the county asking for the document.

According to the response to the RFP, which is dated July 12, 2013, Mid-Atlantic Health Care did have intentions of developing part of the land involved in the sale.

“MAHC proposes to purchase all land, facilities, and operations on the 288 acre campus for a total of $35,000,000. While we have not finalized our plans for the additional land, we have had preliminary discussions with the Einstein Health System to participate in this project. Further, we are also speaking with Ganas Development (which is led by Dr. Elliot Menkowitz), and The Sukonik Building Companies to develop a comprehensive development strategy,” the response states.

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140214/montgomery-county-officials-release-parkhouse-documents-rfp-shows-intent-to-build-on-site

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Franklin Mills Reinvents Itself As A More Conventional Mall

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A sky-high crane dangles over a corner of Franklin Mills Mall these days, but it is more than a towering construction tool: It is a symbol of how necessity is the mother of reinvention at this once-legendary shopping mall.

A Walmart Supercenter is taking shape at the once-pioneering complex, which opened nearly 25 years ago with theme-park anticipation as among the first outlet malls, and the outright largest, ever built. The splashy development, unveiled in 1989, was a gamble befitting its locale, a onetime Northeast Philadelphia racetrack. And early on, its unmatched offerings paid off with packed corridors.

The mall flaunted a 1.2-mile-long, zigzag-shaped concourse, and more than 200 stores hawking discount designer goods, at a time when such wares were available only at out-of-the-way old-factory outlets. Its 1.7 million square feet of bargain buys, right off I-95, was a tourist draw and local sensation.

But the megamall’s early monopoly on outlet shopping has come to an end, forcing Franklin Mills to alter its once-irresistible identity. The Walmart is one of many tenants that now make the monolith, well, a bit more ordinary. And this is by design.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20131226_Franklin_Malls_reinvents_itself_as_a_more_conventional_mall.html#B6GQUXeWYThVsWmy.99

Developers: West Manchester Mall Construction Could Begin By March

Map of York County, Pennsylvania, United State...

Map of York County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The new year will bring a new West Manchester Mall, and developers said work could begin before winter ends.

“We’re trying to get started as early as we can. March is not an unreasonable target,” said Tony Ruggeri, co-founder of Dallas-based M&R Investors, which owns the mall.

The 32-year-old shopping hub at 1800 Loucks Road is set for a $47 million redevelopment that will change it from an enclosed mall to an outdoor plaza similar to Hunt Valley Towne Center in Maryland.

The York County commissioners and the West York school board recently approved a tax incentive financing (TIF) plan that will allow the mall to be revamped while receiving a limited tax break on the improved property.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_24764314/developers-west-manchester-mall-construction-could-begin-by

Ross Firm Strives To Make ‘Pittsburgh Neighborhoods Viable Again’

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Josh Adamek and Scott Hastings believe their work is a form of neighborhood-building.

“A lot of these properties are distressed, so they aren’t worth anything,” Adamek said of the houses they are renewing. “With some work, they are homes and they help the tax base.”

Adamek is president and Hastings is vice president of Synergy Capital in the Perrysville section of Ross. The 3-year-old real estate development and investment firm is renovating homes in what Adamek calls “trendy neighborhoods” such as Lawrenceville, Bloomfield and the South Side.

“They are doing quality work,” said Aspinwall architect Susan Tusick, who has worked with the pair on several projects. “They are trying to make these city neighborhoods viable again.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/realestate/5011466-74/adamek-hastings-homes#ixzz2lghMlszE
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Lancaster City Hall Addition Expected To Bring Greater Efficiency To Government

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Architect Bruce Evans’ charge in designing a City Hall addition was to create space that would help Lancaster city employees work more efficiently and be better able to serve the public.

From his own experience, Evans knew the inefficiency and frustration of taking plans to City Hall for review by city building officials, then having to take them to fire inspectors in Southern Market Center, four blocks away. Sometimes, he then would have to return to City Hall.

When the 18,000-square-foot addition to City Hall is complete, the city’s housing, building and fire code inspectors will work together in the same office. Plans can be reviewed simultaneously in shared meeting spaces.

Similarly, on the floor above, planners from the city Economic Development & Neighborhood Revitalization departments will be grouped with Public Works staffers, who oversee the impact of those plans on the city’s public spaces.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/903017_Lancaster-City-Hall-addition-expected-to-bring-greater-efficiency-to-government.html#ixzz2h3fTg310